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Minimum Wage Debate to be held Nov. 7

On Thursday, November 7 the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College (JCC) will host the next installment of its 2013 Speaker Series on Civic Engagement with an informal debate on raising the minimum wage featuring a panel of speakers representing both sides of the case. The debate entitled "Toward a Living Wage?: Is the Minimum Wage Too Low?" will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Room 6-002, Jules Center (Building 6). The public is welcome to attend.

Lawrence Wittner, professor emeritus from Albany State University, and Ron Deutsch, executive director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, will support the position that minimum wage is too low.  Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, and Kathryn Brownell, associate professor of business at JCC, will support the argument that minimum wage is not too low.

Lawrence S. Wittner, Ph.D., currently serves as the executive secretary of the American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organizations Central Labor Council. Wittner is a longtime activist in the peace, racial justice, and labor movements and is the first chair of the United University Profession’s Solidarity Committee. 

Ron Deutsch is executive director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, a statewide nonprofit that focuses on coalition building around issues of fair taxation and economic justice.  Formerly executive director of the statewide emergency network for Social and Economic Security, he has been an advocate for economic justice for the past 20 years in Albany. He is currently focused on fair tax policy for New York's low and middle income families.     

Mike Durant was named New York State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business in 2011.  Prior to that, he worked in the New York State Senate Office of Member Services; served as a research specialist for the Empire State Development Corporation; and served as an associate commissioner of human resource management for the New York Department of Labor.

Kathryn L. Brownell, associate professor of business at JCC, currently teaches personal finance and macro- and micro-economics courses.  Prior to joining Jefferson in 2004, she served as a vice president for new product development at Bank of America and previously as a vice president with JP Morgan Chase. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s in business administration degree in finance from Indiana University.

There will also be two brief testimonials from local business owners and JCC students. The forum will be held with alternating presentations from each side of the house, and will conclude with a question and answer session.

For more information, contact Dr. Raymond Petersen, Director of the Center for Community Studies at JCC, 315-786-2223.